Matt Carstens is the proud owner of an Enviro-Master franchise serving Metro Detroit South. His entrepreneurial journey is nothing short of an inspirational story, which is why FranNet of Michigan chose to feature him in our testimonial series of client success stories. Assisted by FranNet Consultant Mark Cory, Carstens was able to turn his entrepreneurial dreams into a reality. Below, in his own words, Matthew shares the details of this personal journey – from his previous career as a corporate attorney to ownership of his very own Enviro-Master franchise…
“I graduated from the University of Iowa’s Law School in 1998, which began a 12-year legal career in commercial litigation in Chicago, Detroit, and Cedar Rapids. In 2009, I was then presented with an opportunity to become in-house counsel for ITC Holdings Corp. – the largest independent electricity transmission company in the U.S. A few years later in 2015, I was promoted internally, becoming the company’s vice-president and general counsel for utility operations. I really did enjoy the work during my time at ITC, but after the company was later acquired by another corporation, I began to think about exploring my options.”
On Becoming an Entrepreneur
“When I began to look at other opportunities, I was really considering the benefits of working for myself. I had a desire to set my own tone and culture, based on my experiences to date. Franchising was an appealing way to go about it because the business models, infrastructure, processes, and systems are already in place. No need to reinvent the wheel, so to speak. I met Mark Cory with FranNet through a mutual friend, who had just purchased a dry cleaning franchise. I took the personal assessment to discover which franchise opportunities aligned with my interests and goals and Mark helped me go through about four different concepts.
“Initially, I really liked Enviro-Master’s history of success – they’ve established a pretty good track record over the past couple of decades. I also appreciated how, as a commercial cleaning service, the brand’s value proposition and business model wasn’t going to be threatened by one of the big tech companies or some other disruptor. This was an opportunity where we, as owners, wouldn’t be replaced by AI someday.”
Tell Us About Your Experience Getting Started
“I signed my franchise agreement to purchase an existing Enviro-Master location in July 2020. They had a robust client roster and several hundred thousand in revenue when we took over. This was all right about when Covid was really starting to lock everything down. As you might imagine, this turned out to be a fairly advantageous time to own a commercial cleaning and disinfecting company. Enviro-Master has many applications that go well beyond these services as well. Initially, the phones rang off the hook from clients looking for our help. I guess you could say the timing worked out really well. As for my territory, the metro area of Detroit for Enviro-Master is actually split into north and south – I own the region consisting of Wayne, Washtenaw, Monroe and Lenawee counties, though we also service Toledo and its neighboring communities. We’re fortunate that – even through the ownership transition – we didn’t have much turnover, especially for our managers and technicians. All the top people stayed on, which helped us out a great deal. Of course, that doesn’t happen by accident, but is the result of a focus on building a team that is dedicated to its task.”
Where Do You Stand Today?
“This is still going really well. I’ve learned that this business isn’t for everyone. It takes a lot of work and effort to develop the right interpersonal relationships to maintain our growth. That’s been my main focus over the last three years. I like to say that we work on the business, as well as working in the business. There have been times when I’ve even been out in the field myself, handling technician services as needed. In the last three years, we’ve tripled our annual revenue – an amazing accomplishment. Enviro-Master as a business opportunity is always evolving and looking for new service lines, which creates the potential for additional revenue streams. Even though we’ve been hard at it the last three years in our own territory, I still feel like we haven’t even scratched the surface when it comes to new business development.”
How Did FranNet Support Your Journey?
“I’ll begin by saying that I wouldn’t be here as an Enviro-Master owner without Mark Cory’s help. In a turnkey fashion, he was able to guide me through the franchise investigative process and review different business models. I never felt pressured to make a decision one way or another, it was completely up to me. Mark was very instrumental in helping to arrange everything – the meetings, the introductions, the referrals for professional assistance – everything. And the perspective and advice he offered was also very helpful.”
How Things are Going
“My main focus is on digging deeper into our own area. There are plenty of dense, commercial-rich clients in southeast Michigan that present a lot of opportunity. I’m also looking to expand our service lines with ‘our existing customers, while we’re busy building relationships with new ones. I think we have plenty of work to keep us busy for a while. I’ll probably stay on and run the business until retirement. One of my two sons has shown an interest in pursuing an entrepreneurial future, so you never know – this could end up being passed down as a legacy business. Ultimately, I’m very happy and I’m not going anywhere.”
For more information, please visit Matthew Carsten’s Enviro-Master franchise site on the web.